Ah, January 3, 2023… You know what that means, right? Christmas and New Year’s are now history. My trees are still up. I often leave them up until Epiphany, not because I’m particularly religious, but more because I hate the process of de-Christmasfying my house, both because it’s hard work, and because it’s sad to see the lights go. I like how the trees make our living room look more lived in and homey. I’ve slowly been taking Christmas stuff downstairs to the basement, but I know that very soon, I’ll be hauling the boxes up to the living room and dismantling the whole thing. Sad…
You know what else is kind of “sad”? Hope Hicks and her ilk, bitching about how the horrifying events of January 6, 2021 now make them “unemployable”. Yes, that’s right. CNN has released the contents of an angry text exchange between former Trump White House Aid, Hope Hicks, and Ivanka Trump’s chief of staff, Julie Radford. Hicks, who, in spite of her bad decision to work for Trump, is almost surely not someone with intellectual disabilities, was “mad and upset” because the insurrection hurt her professionally.
On January 6, 2021, Hicks texted to Radford, “In one day he ended every future opportunity that doesn’t include speaking engagements at the local Proud Boys chapter,” continuing, “And all of us that didn’t have jobs lined up will be perpetually unemployed. I’m so mad and upset. We all look like domestic terrorists now.” Hicks finished her diatribe with, “This made us all unemployable. Like untouchable. God I’m so f***ing mad.”
And Radford’s response was, “I know, like there isn’t a chance of finding a job,” and indicating she already lost a job opportunity from Visa, which sent her a “blow off email.”
I just want to shake these women and remind them that there were many warnings and indications that the events of January 6, 2021 were going to happen. What the hell was she expecting? Did she really think that Trump’s attempted power grab was going to end well? Even if he had managed to stay in power after January 6th, eventually he would have ended up on the wrong side of history. And, as someone who voluntarily worked for him, and was there to hear the warnings about what was planned for January 6th, Hicks is complicit in enabling Trump. She really has no one to blame but herself.
I look at Hope Hicks, and I see a very attractive, young woman who has a lot of things going for her besides her education and experience. In fact, I’ll bet that education and experience weren’t really the qualities that helped her get a job in Trump’s administration. She’s a woman, and we know what Trump thinks of women. He sees them as sex objects.
Fortunately, there were a few people in that administration who could see the writing on the wall. Hicks noted, “Not being dramatic, but we are all fucked. Alyssa looks like a genius,” supposedly referring to Alyssa Farah Griffin, who resigned from her job a month before the insurrection. I believe it was Griffin who helped Cassidy Hutchinson, who also realized too late that working for Donald Trump eventually becomes a serious liability for most people. Hicks was apparently more interested in her career and making money than doing what’s right for the American people. I have no sympathy for her. Cassidy Hutchinson also stuck around the White House too long, but at least she worked with the January 6th committee and shared what she knows. Hope Hicks was apparently just out for herself.
According to the Farron Balanced YouTube channel, Alyssa Farah Griffin basically said that Ivanka Trump was “worse than useless” in the White House. Because not only did Ivanka not try to temper her father’s worst impulses, but she also didn’t do a damned thing to mitigate his decisions. And neither did Hope Hicks, who was thought to be able to convince Trump to be a better human.
I seriously wonder, though… do these people have any common sense? They work in politics, and have surely been around people who won’t hesitate to shaft them. I think they could all use a course in psychology, so they might learn a thing or two about narcissistic personality disorder. While I obviously can’t diagnose Trump with anything, to me it’s very clear that he’s pretty much off the charts in terms of his narcissistic tendencies. He doesn’t do anything for anyone who can’t do something for him. And his desires and needs will ALWAYS come first. So of course she was going to be screwed over. Even if he’d stayed in office, she would only be as good as her last “good deed” for Trump’s agenda. Hicks didn’t see this when she worked for him? Was she blind?
Bill and I were talking about this situation over breakfast. My husband, who is always so kind and empathic, said “Yes, it’s stupid that she wound up in that situation, but I can empathize. I know firsthand how easy it is to be blinded by this type of person.”
It’s true that Bill was married to a narcissist, and he went to war with one. And he soon learned that these very damaged people will never do anything for anyone that doesn’t somehow benefit them. They don’t care about the fallout to others when they do “nuclear style” shit like trying to overthrow the government, abusing troops, or demanding a divorce over Easter. They are focused entirely on themselves.
Alyssa Farah Griffin was smart enough to see that she didn’t want her name linked to Trump, knowing that there were so many lies being promoted. While I might fault her for being involved with Trump in the first place, I do commend her for quitting while the quitting was good. She shows that she has some good sense, or at least a sense of self-preservation. I get being young and wanting to find a good job. Alyssa is obviously very intelligent and well-spoken, in spite of her Republican ties. I hope the rest of these women have learned something.
For me, it was very clear who Trump was when I heard and read his comments about grabbing women by the pussy, and believing he could do it “because he is a star”. That, my friends, is the epitome of narcissistic thinking to the point of delusion. When someone speaks like that, it means that they don’t care about ANYONE but themselves, and they are wholly unqualified to lead anyone. This is a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women and them being “okay” with it, because of who he is. It’s sick and delusional, and as an American, I am ashamed that Trump was the president of my homeland. He is a huge embarrassment on many levels.
Good leaders care about other people. Trump obviously doesn’t care about anyone but himself, and his endless needs. It has NOTHING to do with his political affiliation or beliefs, which frankly, have little to do with the Republican Party. It’s about his quality as a human being. Trump is a very low quality person. And anyone who can’t see that now has obviously missed the plot. I wish people would learn to vote for individuals over political parties. Because, as I have learned over my five decades of life, the parties matter much less than the people who comprise them. The Republican Party used to have more decent people, but a lot of them have left or were voted out, and now we’re left with extremist power hungry psychopaths, like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, and Lauren Boebert. And these are folks who have been emboldened by Donald Trump. Trump is getting to be old, but his influence, I’m afraid, is going to last a long time. I know his supporters will eventually look at their affiliation with him with shame… and some might even wind up in prison. But it will take time before they plainly see how wrong they are, and how they are now on the wrong side of history.
Anyway… I’m sure Hope Hicks has recovered professionally from the insurrection by now. As I mentioned, she’s obviously a beautiful woman, and she has education and experience. And, you know, there are people out there who will hire her, simply because she’s very pretty. I’m pretty sure her good looks were one reason why she ended up working for Trump in the first place, sad as it is. I see she used to be a model. Maybe she can go back to that gig.
I know I’ve already written a book review today, but I wanted to add a few comments about Cassidy Hutchinson, former junior White House aide to Mark Meadows in the Trump administration. Yesterday, I read and heard about how she was “encouraged” by “ethics attorney” Stefan Passantino to lie under oath to protect Donald Trump and his cronies. Or, rather, the attorney advised her “not to recall” things that she remembered from her time in the White House. When Hutchinson asked the lawyer if that wouldn’t be perjury, he told her no one would know what she did and didn’t remember. So she could say “I don’t recall”, even though that would have been a lie. And yes, technically it IS perjury.
After I watched the above video yesterday, I posted on Facebook that I think Cassidy Hutchinson is a hero. I truly believe she is, even though she worked in the Trump administration. I’ve seen a number of people holding her work for Trump against her, and minimizing the fact that what she did took immense courage and maturity. She has proven that she’s very professional and has a high level of personal honor.
Consider this. Last summer, when she was all over the news, Cassidy Hutchinson was 26 years old and had never needed to hire a lawyer. When this stuff came up, she was out of work, because Trump lost the election. She didn’t have the money to pay for a lawyer. One lawyer she contacted said they could help, but requested a $150,000 retainer. I bet that lawyer is kicking themselves now.
Stefan Passantino, one of Trump’s crony lawyers, offered to help her, and said she didn’t need to worry about legal bills. He refused to tell her who was paying for his services. It is legal for lawyers to be paid by third parties, but clients are supposed to know who pays so that they can give “informed consent”. Someone working for Trump would expect Hutchinson to be on Trump’s side, rather than allowing her to tell the truth.
Shortly after Passantino started working with her, some of Trump’s buddies started contacting her about job opportunities. I remember what it was like to be 26 and hungry for work, although I was waiting tables at that time of my life. I’m sure it was tempting to keep her mouth shut and take the job security and legal assistance. Naturally, once it became clear that Hutchinson was cooperating with investigators, those lucrative job offers were pulled, just like the proverbial carrot on a stick.
Fortunately for all Americans, Hutchinson realized that accepting this help from Passantino was akin to making a deal with the devil. She went to her parents for help. Her mother couldn’t help. Her father, with whom she understandably doesn’t have a relationship, is a big Trump supporter and refused to assist her in hiring a lawyer. In spite of her fears about retribution from Trump and lack of financial resources, Hutchinson told the truth. And now, a lot of people are thinking of her as a hero. I doubt she’s going to have to worry about finding a job. She has her self-respect, and she may have done a lot to help save our democracy. We’ll see what actually happens to Trump. Still… what she did took some guts!
I know a lot of people think Hutchinson should be criticized for working for Trump in the first place. I am inclined to cut her a break, though. It sounds like she was raised by Republicans, like I was. She may have never had a chance to consider other political views. Her father is a Trumper, so much so that he would protect Trump over helping his own daughter. She describes herself as a first generation college student, which probably means her parents are working class. Democrats used to be considered the party for “working class” people, but now it seems that Republicans are mostly folks who aren’t big on education. Trump even famously said that he “loves the poorly educated”. Hutchinson also went to Christopher Newport University, in Newport News, Virginia, which is very close to where I grew up. It’s a very conservative, red, part of Virginia. She’s only twenty-six years old. Maybe she hasn’t been exposed to other ideologies yet, in spite of her degrees in political science and American studies. Or maybe she considers herself the old style of Republican, which is what I used to be.
I’m sure Trump and his minions thought Cassidy Hutchinson would be easy to manipulate, flatter, bribe, or threaten into compliance. There she was, a beautiful young woman with just a bachelor’s degree and some entry level experience. She had her sights set on a political career and was making it happen. Surely they could get her to cooperate in this little matter, right? She sure proved them wrong. Maybe it would make sense to do Trump’s bidding, but it would have meant being beholden to him forever. Lots of Trump’s pals were contacting her relentlessly before she was to testify, trying to sway her testimony. I’m glad she realized that trusting them would be foolhardy. Trump is a snake, and he has no honor. There’s no guarantee that Cassidy Hutchinson would be rewarded for her cooperation. People like Trump routinely use people until they’ve gotten all they can and then ditch them. So Hutchinson was absolutely right to do the right thing.
“It wasn’t just that I had Stefan sitting next to me; it was almost like I felt like I had Trump looking over my shoulder,” Hutchinson testified. “Because I knew in some fashion it would get back to him if I said anything he would find disloyal. And the prospect of that genuinely scared me. You know, I’d seen this world ruin people’s lives or try to ruin people’s careers.”
Hutchinson testified: “Pam [Bondi- Former Attorney General of Florida] texted me that night and said something to the effect of: ‘Susie, Matt Schlapp, and I had dinner with POTUS at Mar-a-Lago tonight. Call Matt next week. He has a job for you that we all think you’d be great at — that you all — we all think you would be great in. You are the best. Keep up the good work. Love and miss you.’”
I’ll bet none of those people are calling her now… The article continues:
Ben Williamson, a former White House aide who was still working for Hutchinson’s former boss, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, reached out to Hutchinson the night before her second scheduled interview with the committee with a friendly reminder.
“He said something to the effect of: ‘Well, Mark wants me to let you know that he knows you’re loyal and he knows you’ll do the right thing tomorrow and that you’re going to protect him and the boss,’” Hutchinson testified. “‘He knows that we’re all on the same team and we’re all a family.’”
Williamson did not immediately offer a comment.
Hutchinson was still concerned about lying under oath. She spoke to Passantino about her misgivings, and he said:
“I would have heard if he was mad about anything discussed in yours, but it’s just a good reminder that the boss does read transcripts,” Hutchinson recalled Passantino telling her. “And we want to make sure that, like, whatever he’s reading isn’t going to put you in a bad situation.”
The WaPo article I linked indicates that there’s another brave woman who deserves some credit. Alyssa Farah Griffin, another former Trump aide who had managed to break free of the MAGA cult, spoke to Hutchinson, who confided that she was withholding information at Passantino’s request. Griffin served as a conduit to the January 6th committee, letting them know that Hutchinson had more information that she was willing to divulge.
Through Griffin, Hutchinson answered more questions from the committee. When Stefan Passantino found out about it, he demanded to know how the committee found out. She tried to maintain plausible deniability, but the jig was up. The lucrative job offers dried up, and she was out in the cold. Hutchinson told a staffer, “I’m about to be fucking nuked.” She soon started to realize the price she could be paying for betraying Trump. I’m sure she experienced great anxiety and sleepless nights, realizing that these heavy hitting Republicans could and would happily steamroll her in their bid for maintain power and money. She could have given in to that and been a slave to Trump’s MAGA cult. She chose integrity, instead.
According to The New York Times:
“They don’t know what you know, Cassidy,” she quoted [Passatino] as saying. “They don’t know that you can recall some of these things.”
After the interview, Ms. Hutchinson said, Mr. Passantino told her that he would help her get her “a really good job in Trump world.”
“We’re going to get you taken care of,” she quoted him as saying. “We want to keep you in the family.”
But obviously only if she lied for Donald Trump and his cronies… and only if she was willing to sell her soul to his MAGA cult. It’s not a nice way to live, is it? Yes, she should have avoided Trump in the first place, but because she was there and was willing to talk, we know a lot more than we might have. Cassidy Hutchinson is to be commended for her grace under pressure, her commitment to honesty and professionalism, and her extreme bravery and integrity. I’m sure she will be rewarded for this on many levels. The biggest and best reward of all, in my opinion, is maintaining her dignity and self-respect. She’s going to go down in history as a courageous young woman who didn’t bow to Donald Trump. She seems to be one of the few and proud. I think she has a bright future ahead of her, as long as she stays healthy and safe… because, frankly, I would not put it past Trump to try to get her offed somehow. He has proven, time and again, that he’s an insane, ruthless, vindictive bastard who will stoop to incredibly low levels to get revenge on his enemies. I sincerely hope she has some protection.
Last night, Bill and I listened to more of Bob Woodward’s Audible book, The Trump Tapes. I’m hoping we’ll finish it tonight, mainly because I hate listening to Donald Trump speak, but also because I look forward to reviewing Woodward’s work. One thing that immediately sticks out to me is that Trump was amazingly forthcoming to this respected member of the press. And Woodward, like any good interviewer, does his best to stroke Trump’s ego, which of course, works like a charm. Trump, like so many narcissistic dictator types before him, loves an audience, and he loves to be stroked. As long as you’re stroking, he’s talking… and Woodward is an expert at extracting information and recording it. So that part of the book is interesting, even as I cringe listening to Trump’s gravelly voice with its weird, sing-songy cadence, and constant spew of bullshit.
Another thing that sticks out to me about The Trump Tapes is that Trump’s focus was almost entirely about money. At one point, he talks about a discussion with the Saudi Arabian king, in which he tells the king “You need to pay…” He was talking about the king needing to pay the United States for military security. He sounded like a mafia boss. I might have been impressed with Trump’s shameless appeal for money, except I know that Trump doesn’t like to pay for things. He has a long list of former lawyers, contractors, and employees who weren’t fully paid or paid at all for their services. Trump seems to think that the so-called “prestige” for working with him ought to be enough. He doesn’t see that if you don’t take care of your people, they won’t take care of you… at least not willingly.
A couple of years ago, I read and reviewed Disloyal, a book written by Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen, like so many others who have worked with Trump, eventually learned that working for Trump will lead to misery and losses. Cohen admitted in his book that his job was mostly about getting Trump out of having to pay for things and using legal muscle to keep people in line. For this work, he was paid less than what he was used to earning. He also had to be at Trump’s beck and call, and it was not at all unusual for Trump to interrupt Cohen’s personal time with phone calls and demands for last minute jobs. In his book, Cohen wrote that Trump never pays full price for anything.
Cohen once admired Trump, and wanted to be like him. But he made the mistake of thinking that Trump would respect him and see him as an equal. Cohen, for all of his legal acumen, did not understand narcissism, and he fell for Trump’s charm. Then later, he realized that to Trump, Cohen was a mere tool to be used at his sole discretion. Cohen paid for his tenure as Trump’s legal lackey with prison time and the loss of his license to practice law. However, I have seen Cohen making the rounds all over YouTube, and he has a new book out called Revenge. I will read Cohen’s next book, because even though I think Cohen is pretty narcissistic himself, he’s entertaining. I also enjoy hearing him throw Trump under the bus. Cohen may have lost his legal career, but he’s laughing all the way to the bank as he generates a career selling out the guy who sold him out repeatedly. Perhaps, in his own way, he’s finally making Trump pay.
This topic comes up today as I look at my Facebook memories from October 27, 2018. Four years ago, Bill and I were in the midst of house hunting, as we made plans to move from Jettingen, Germany to Wiesbaden. At the time, we were renting a house from someone who later reminded me a bit of Trump on many levels. I was feeling psychologically unhinged, due to the passive and active aggressive harassment and false allegations lobbed at us by the ex landlady, whom I knew full well would try to rip off our deposit. Four years ago, I was anxious and upset, and there was a lot of adrenaline building as we geared up to stand up for our rights in a country that is foreign to us.
For the first time ever in our married life, Bill and I were very picky about which house and landlord we would accept. We saw seven houses before we finally decided on the one we’re in, which was the last house we viewed. We are paying a lot for this house, but it’s been worth it. Our current landlord treats us fairly and with respect, and this house is a lot more to my liking than the other one was. So we don’t mind paying, even if it is a lot more than what we used to pay. And, in the end, our former landlady also had to pay.
I read my blog post from October 27, 2018. It was partly about something I saw on The Angry Bartender’s page. Someone had decided that they were “too drunk to tip”, and promised they’d tip the next time they visited. Having worked in the restaurant industry myself, I had sympathy for the bartender, even though I don’t care for the tipping custom myself. I mean, I absolutely DO tip where tipping is the norm. I just think it would be better if paying staff wasn’t passed off to customers. I prefer the way tipping is in Germany, where servers and bartenders are expected to be paid by the people who hired them, and tipping truly is a token of gratitude from the customer, rather than an obligation. However– in the USA right now, tipping is expected in most places. And if you’re too drunk to do math, then you probably shouldn’t be exiting a bar without an escort, especially if you can’t walk to wherever it is you’re sleeping. My guess is that the Uber driver isn’t going to want to be stiffed on a tip, either.
Some people on that post were saying that the bartender ought to report the non tipping patron to the police. Naturally, someone else was outraged by that idea, and said so in the comments. From my post four years ago:
I read the comments and one woman suggested getting the person’s license plate number and calling the cops, telling them the person left the bar too drunk to drive. Another commenter left an irate shaming comment about how jacked up it is to “fuck up someone’s life” just because they didn’t tip. But think about this for a minute. This person was too drunk to do math. If he or she was so intoxicated that tipping properly was too much of a challenge, he or she was certainly too intoxicated to drive. And people who are that drunk have no right to “fuck up” or end an innocent person’s life by driving drunk.
I continue to be amazed by some people’s senses of entitlement. I see it every day on any newspaper comment section on Facebook, where people constantly complain about paywalls. One guy wrote this:
Why do you post this if only subscribers can read it? You should create a close[d] group only for subscribers.
People pointed out to the guy that if he was reading so many articles that he’d used up his free limit, he needed to become a subscriber. The guy came back with more nasty, entitled spew, as he didn’t seem to realize that he obviously values the paper’s articles enough to read them. But he doesn’t want to pay for the news, even though good journalism is a profession that takes training, expertise, and a fair amount of natural talent. Isn’t that worth paying for? Journalists have bills to pay, too, and it takes money, training, and time to bring you the news. I want to ask the complaining guy if he works for free. Better yet, is he one of those people who resents people who don’t work? Writing the news is a job. People who work jobs should be paid. Newspapers and other media outlets generate money through subscriptions and advertising. You want to read it? You need to pay.
I don’t know what is going to happen with Trump. I see a number of people are trying to hold him accountable. In the past, he’s been eel-like in his ability to slip out of financial obligations. He seems friendly and energizing to those who stroke his ego, but people don’t seem to understand that what they’re seeing is simply superficial charm. There is no substance to it. I listen to Trump act like he and Bob Woodward are great friends, but then Woodward went on to write books about what a dishonest slimeball Trump is, and how his administration was dogged by constant chaos and lies. Woodward is polite and respectful to Trump, not getting offended when he doesn’t let him get a word in edgewise. He gets the story by letting Trump speak for himself. Listening to The Trump Tapes is painful on many levels, and yet we can hear straight from the man’s mouth what a lying grifter he is. He’s someone who never wants to pick up the check, as he tells other people “You need to pay.”
It’s not lost on me that Bob Woodward’s Audible book is coming out just before the midterm elections. I hope it has the right effect on enough people. I don’t think we can afford another Trump term. It’s time Trump paid for his fun, instead of pushing the check on to the American public. It’s time that we, as a society, told Trump, “You need to pay.”
Hopefully, I’ll be ready to write a real review of The Trump Tapes soon. For now, it’s time to do my usual Thursday chores, which now includes taking Arran to the vet for his chemo. Cheerio!
When Bill isn’t home, our dogs– usually Arran– often wake me up in the middle of the night. After they have their midnight pee or poo break, they come back in and go back to bed. I, then, spend another hour or so, trying to get back to sleep. That’s what happened to me in the wee hours of this morning, when Arran got me up TWICE— once to pee, and once to poo, and both times, demanded a cookie reward for doing his business. Noyzi, on the other hand, didn’t bark at me through the bedroom door early this morning, as he has the past two mornings, nor did he want to join Arran on his nocturnal potty runs.
It’s because of Arran’s second potty break that I finally finished Stephanie Grisham’s 2021 book, I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw at the Trump White House. While it wasn’t a particularly difficult book to read, it did take me some time to plow through, mainly because I’m not capable of reading as fast as I once was. Nowadays, if I’m reading in bed, I fall asleep. I have to be careful, too, because I usually read on an iPad. I don’t want to get hit in the nose or teeth, or roll over on the iPad and break it. It also took time because I happened to be reading it while we were on vacation, and I was busy doing other things… like watching Netflix and hanging out with Bill.
I hadn’t actually planned to read Stephanie Grisham’s book. I remember reading her comments defending the Trumps when Donald Trump was 45. Many of my regular readers know I despise Donald Trump, and I’d like to forget about him. Still, I have found myself drawn to books written by people who worked for him at the White House (there is no working with him— the man is a raging narcissist and thinks he is the most important person alive). I did read Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s book, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady. I figured I might as well give Stephanie Grisham’s book a chance.
So now I’ve read it… and I have to say, for the most part, it wasn’t terrible.
Ambitious Stephanie Grisham had always dreamt of being the White House Press Secretary. In 2016, when Trump was running for president, she was a “junior press wrangler”. By 2020, she had worked for both Donald Trump, and his wife, Melania. For a time she simultaneously worked for BOTH Trumps, when Trump hired her to be the White House Press Secretary and Communications Director, and Melania Trump’s Communications Director. Grisham was an extremely rare high profile Trump employee, in that she was there for almost the entire time Trump was in office. She finally quit on January 6, 2021, in the wake of the attack on the Capitol, as pro Trump rioters breached one of our country’s most beautiful and recognizable government buildings in an attempt to prevent the 2020 presidential election results from being certified.
Having read Grisham’s book, and about all of the frustrations and mistreatment she no doubt faced, particularly at the hands of some of her male co-workers, I’m surprised it took her so long to finally throw in the towel. But Grisham has an explanation. She, like so many of us, was “trained” to take abuse from people, and she got unusually good at doing that. And she also claims that she’s a Republican and believed in what Trump was doing. She writes that he had some good policies, although she doesn’t really spell out which specific policies she thought were so good.
This book isn’t really about Donald Trump’s policies, though. It’s about what it was like to work for the Trumps. Grisham writes about what it was like to fly on Air Force One, which took the Trumps and their entourage on exotic foreign trips– at one point, meeting the British Royal Family, at another, visiting four countries in Africa. Much of what Grisham writes seems to be more about working for Melania, which I got the impression she did longer than working for Trump himself.
There were a few instances in the book in which Grisham seemed to want to be friends with Melania, but Melania apparently wasn’t interested. For instance, one day Melania seemed kind of depressed. Grisham invited her to take a walk on the beach, as if they were friends. Melania wanted to know if there would be photographers there. Grisham then found herself trying to arrange an impromptu photo shoot with real photographers. Throughout the book, Grisham mentions how beautiful and stylish Melania is, as if she really admires her, in spite of Melania’s hot and cold treatment of her and eventually being completely discarded by the former First Lady when the Trump era ended.
Incidentally, Grisham mentions Stephanie Winston Wolkoff’s book on more than one occasion. I get the sense there’s no love lost between those two. However, I also get the sense that both of them fancied themselves “close friends” of Melania’s. It’s almost as if they’re jealous of each other (Wolkoff also mentions Grisham in her book). Wolkoff eventually realizes that Melania is no friend to anyone. Grisham, conversely, seems to hold out hope that she and Melania could one day be besties or something. Spoiler alert– it ain’t happening. Melania is into herself, and maybe her son, Barron. That’s about it.
I’m being honest when I write that Grisham comes off as a likable person to me, probably because she uses a lot of profanity. I mean… she uses a LOT of cuss words, including the “f” word. As much as I like cussing myself, that was one aspect of her writing that I noticed and thought detracted a bit from her manuscript, especially given that she’s a journalist. On the other hand, she writes as if she’s having a conversation, which I also tend to do. And if cursing is something she does in her natural voice, maybe it IS appropriate, in terms of her authentic voice. I think if I had to work for either of the Trumps to make a living, I would cuss a lot too. And I would probably drink a lot more… which would not be a good thing. However, while the profanity makes Grisham seem more relatable to me, it also makes her seem less polished and professional. I guess that makes sense in Trump’s White House, given his penchant for “pussy grabbing”.
Grisham offers some details about some of the Trumps’ most notorious moments in the press, as well as Jared and Ivanka, whom she collectively refers to as Javanka. Like Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, she refers to Ivanka alone as “the princess”. Barron gets one mention at the end of the book, and she paints him in a good light. The other Trump kids are described as entitled brats, for the most part– but especially Ivanka. Grisham doesn’t seem impressed with Jared Kushner, either.
Toward the end of Grisham’s book, she writes about an abusive romantic relationship she was involved in with another Trump staffer. She doesn’t identify the man, but she does describe him, and her description of him certainly paints the picture of a classic abuser. This was a man she’d lived with, and even adopted a dog with, and at the end of their relationship, he turned out to be a total dick. One night, she got very upset and hung out with some friends. Another friend brought over some wine and encouraged Grisham to take an Ambien, which she did. It promptly knocked her out cold. Next thing she knew, she was being asked if she was okay by two guys in her bedroom. They were from the Secret Service. Her friend got worried and called the White House. They got the idea that she was suicidal.
At the same time she was reeling from her breakup, Grisham was also dealing with Mark Meadows, one of Trump’s many former Chiefs of Staff. Meadows made Grisham’s life hellish, and basically fired her from working with Trump. Although Grisham had supposedly wanted to keep the Ambien incident quiet, word got out, which is probably why she addresses it in her book. Meadows also got wind of it and was apparently quite the bastard about it, and a lot of other things. Make no mistake about it; Grisham and Mark Meadows are definitely not on good terms.
As she sums up her time fulfilling her ambitions of being the White House Press Secretary, among other things, Grisham discloses her own personal epiphany. She realizes that she has been well-trained to tolerate abuse, especially from men. She says she was abused by her White House boyfriend, by Mark Meadows, and even by Trump. She wrote that she’d gotten used to men being mean to her, calling her names, and treating her like a doormat. I must say, I was a little surprised that she hadn’t seen Trump as an abuser ages ago, especially since she’s a journalist. One of the main reasons why I despise Trump so much is because it’s so OBVIOUS to me that he’s abusive. It was very clear that Trump was an abuser, even in the 1980s, which is when I first heard of Trump.
I remember, in 2016, reading an article about the 1993 book, Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump by Harry Hurt III. Within that article, there was an excerpt from the book about an incident that occurred between Donald Trump and his first wife, Ivana. It basically described Trump as having raped his first wife. I was horrified, and decided to read and review the book for myself, which I did, back in April 2017. You can find my repost here. Below is a screenshot of the passage in the article from The New Yorker that I read about Trump’s little domestic violence episode. This attack is also described in Hurt’s book.
Stephanie Grisham seems to like Melania, even though Melania hasn’t said a word to her since the day Grisham quit her job. She does state that both Donald and Melania basically use people and discard them when they are no longer useful. In that sense, they’re both narcissists. However, Melania apparently comes off as a more “human” and less extreme version of a narcissist. Melania is probably more of a garden variety narcissist, while Trump is an obvious, off-the-chain, malignant narcissist. He was put into power by people who are probably actual sociopaths and are a hell of a lot more intelligent and cunning than Trump will ever be. I know there are snakes on both sides of the political spectrum, but the Republicans have really shown their asses in a dangerous way. It saddens me that so many Americans have fallen for it, hook, line, and sinker.
At the end of the book, Grisham does concede that she wished another Republican, other than Donald Trump, could have run for president in 2020. I can understand that. Before Trump took office, I had some sympathy for the conservative cause. However… as far as I am concerned, Trump has ruined the Republican Party. I think it’s unlikely I will vote Republican ever again. Grisham, on the other hand, still says she’s a Republican, and at times, even seems to apologize for the Trumps– including Donald, but especially Melania.
Below are a couple of insightful excerpts from Grisham’s epilogue (bolded emphases are mine):
IT HAS OCCURRED TO me as I’ve been writing that I seem to be blaming everyone but myself for how things turned out for me in the White House, especially in the last six months. According to me I was the victim of covid, of Meadows and his people, of my ex, of the former East Wing chief of staff, of some of my own East Wing staff, of some West Wing senior staff, of the president, and even of the first lady at the very end. And although the stories I have laid out are all true and it was very much a perfect storm of certain personalities coming together in opposition to me, I don’t feel that I am a victim who did no wrong. It is my fervent belief that when you are the common denominator in situations like this, you need to look within and determine where your own responsibility lies. People need to hold themselves accountable to situations so that they can learn from them and apply them in the next chapter of life, and that includes me.
I think the first part is obvious: I became heady with power. I got cocky. You get inside the walls of the White House, the most important building in the country and arguably the world, and you are catered to like nowhere else. You go in wanting to help the people of the United States, but I don’t think many people in the Trump administration left there as the best versions of themselves; I know I did not.
Grisham, Stephanie. I’ll Take Your Questions Now (p. 326). Harper. Kindle Edition.
I did think somebody needed to stick around to look out for Mrs. Trump. I was loyal to her personally, and I didn’t want her to be staffed by incompetent or untrustworthy people who didn’t have her best interests at heart. And as she had most always been good to me, I felt gratitude. But her apathy in response to the January 6 riots made it hard for me to stay at the very end.
I also turned a blind eye toward my own falling into a trap I saw over and over again: believing I was a trusted and valued member of Trump World. The plain truth is that most of the Trump family dismisses and cuts people from their lives on a whim. They demand total loyalty, but they are loyal to no one. I don’t blame them, to be honest. They are businesspeople, and business should not be personal. Some people learned that once and walked away; others kept going back for more, and there are many who are still doing it. I allowed my ego to grow in such a way that I never considered that the Trumps would allow me to be treated poorly. I put myself onto the same level as Hope Hicks, Dan Scavino, even Javanka, and that was ludicrous. Mrs. Trump did defend me when she could, and privately she always told me of her anger on my behalf, but I’m not sure it ever went farther than that, and I wrongly expected that it should have.
Finally, and most importantly, I should have spoken up more.
Grisham, Stephanie. I’ll Take Your Questions Now (pp. 326-327). Harper. Kindle Edition.
A lot of narcissistic, abusive people rise to meteoric heights and great fame, with many loyal, hardworking people like Stephanie Grisham working tirelessly and thanklessly to put, and keep, them in power. But not every successful person is like this, nor should they be. These are not qualities that are healthy or desirable in world leaders. Until Stephanie Grisham recognizes and acknowledges that, I fear that she’ll keep making the same mistakes… and allow her ambition to blind her to toxic behaviors from others that will simply make her miserable. More importantly, these behaviors also make innocent people miserable… including the folks who went to the Capitol in January of this year, mistakenly thinking Trump would reward their loyalty by pardoning them for the crimes they committed on his behalf.
Grisham said it herself– the Trumps expect loyalty, “but they are loyal to no one.” Trump even ominously told this to Grisham straight up, when he said to her “I am the only one who matters.” I really think Stephanie Grisham should think about that, and reevaluate her idea of what makes appropriate and effective leaders… or even appropriate people to have in her private life. In order to be a great leader, the leader must care about other people and be a decent person themselves. Otherwise, they’re just power hungry toxic people who use others and spit them out when they’re deemed worthless. They’re just like parasites. And they aren’t even polite or kind about it. At one point, Grisham writes that Trump asked her Grisham’s ex boyfriend if Grisham was “good in bed.” When they later broke up, Trump wanted the details, and didn’t seem to care that Grisham was obviously upset and crying about her pain. Trump has no empathy, and that makes him unworthy of anyone’s vote or attention or anything else.
The fact that Grisham recognizes that the Trumps dismiss and cut people from their lives is a positive step in the right direction. However, I think she still has some work to do, because in the next sentence, she writes that she doesn’t blame them. In fact, there are several times in her book that Grisham makes excuses, not just for the Trumps, but for herself. I recall reading more than once that Grisham had gotten DUIs– maybe it was only one, but I know there was at least one– but she basically explains that she got caught drinking and driving after hanging out with her girlfriends, and blows it off as if it’s not a big deal. Then, there was the Ambien incident, apparently after she’d enjoyed some wine. Maybe she should also seek some professional attention regarding her use of substances.
So… that about does it for my review. I’m not sorry I read I’ll Take Your Questions Now, even though I initially wasn’t inclined to read the book. I don’t agree with Stephanie Grisham’s politics, but I appreciate her decision to share her story. I think Stephanie Grisham is, deep down, an okay, but deeply flawed person… maybe even someone I’d enjoy talking to, in spite of her politics and deep flaws. After all, most of us are deeply flawed. What can I say? I still have Republican friends and family members.
I just hope Stephanie Grisham finds herself a good therapist and explores her own self worth more. My friend Audra shared these two thoughts on Facebook yesterday. If Stephanie Grisham ever reads my review, I hope she’ll read them and take them to heart. Based on her book, I think these are lessons she should practice a bit more.
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Sorry to bring this up today. I’d rather be writing about something really hilarious. But I feel the need to bring up something that has been bugging the crap out of me ever since the Afghanistan debacle happened.
Last night, one of my relatives posted a nasty diatribe about Joe Biden’s handling of Afghanistan. He called Biden a “POS” and then berated people for thinking Trump is worse than Biden is. I fought to stop myself from commenting. I decided not to, mainly because my relative has a huge number of conservative friends, as well as lots of mutual family members hanging out on his page. And I just didn’t feel like getting into it with anyone last night, especially since we’re about to leave town.
I also recognize people’s rights to post what they want to on their social media. It’s almost always better to just scroll by things that are inflammatory and/or hide the post. So that’s what I did. But my husband, who has over 30 years of military experience, as well as actual experience “downrange”, did decide to respond. I haven’t gone to look at the aftermath of Bill’s comment, because again, I don’t want to feel the need to respond. The “need to respond” is definitely a troublesome family trait on my dad’s side of the family, and it doesn’t always lead to things that are good.
Trump doesn’t think about what he says before he speaks, and he acts impulsively. He regularly says things that are incredibly hurtful and offensive, and he does harmful things without a second thought about the outcome. A man who brags about grabbing any woman he wants by the pussy is not someone who would handle pulling out of Afghanistan with any grace or finesse. He apparently doesn’t even operate that way in the bedroom.
We have had four years to see Trump’s way of handling things. Maybe the optics would have been more palatable to the armchair warriors who are safe at home, watching the news… and being manipulated like everyone else is by the way the media portrays things. But I don’t in a million years believe that the outcome would have been better. In fact, I think it would have been much worse.
Anyway… here’s why I think Trump would have botched Afghanistan much worse than Biden has. It’s because Trump is probably a malignant narcissist. That’s really the main reason. Trump’s narcissism is apparently off the charts. And that fact, in and of itself, is what makes him a terrible leader, and what would have made him seriously fuck up Afghanistan in a way that probably would have gotten a lot of people killed.
What is a malignant narcissist?
You can click this link to read a pretty good description of what a malignant narcissist is. But in brief terms, a malignant narcissist is someone who is completely preoccupied with their image and has superficial charm. They seek to win at all costs, and don’t care what they have to do or who they have to hurt in order to win. They can’t handle criticism, listen to counsel or advice from others, or regulate their behavior. And they are amused by other people’s pain and suffering.
Donald Trump regularly and obviously displays his extreme narcissism. He says and does whatever he wants. He doesn’t care when people get hurt, unless it suits his narrative. When the cameras aren’t rolling, he doesn’t give a shit about other people. There are thousands of people who are affected by what’s going on in Afghanistan. And, as it was said on one of Dr. Grande’s videos, “Narcissism is a barrier against reason and logic.” If there’s a time when having reason and logic is paramount, it’s now.
I know some people don’t think Trump’s narcissism is significant. But if you have had personal dealings with this type of person, you will come to know all too well how narcissists put other people in grave danger and serious personal risk. Seriously narcissistic people like Trump do not care about anything or anyone but themselves. That is a fact. And given that, he would not care about the people of Afghanistan or the Americans who are trying to get out of there safely.
Is it better to have a “weak” person like Biden handling pulling out of Afghanistan? Or is Trump’s bluster and perceived “strength” better?
In my opinion, Biden is clearly a better person to be handling this crisis. Let’s be honest. This was a mess 20 years in the making. Joe Biden didn’t start it. In fact, he didn’t even really end it. Donald Trump made one of his famous “deals” with the Taliban last year. Trump wanted to get America out of Afghanistan, but instead of dealing with the Afghan government, he cut a deal with the Taliban. Maybe the Taliban still would have struck if Trump had dealt with the government instead of an extremist terrorist group, but as Trump likes to say, “it wasn’t a good look” for him to be negotiating with terrorists.
Trump wasn’t wrong to want us out of Afghanistan, since the war was a huge cash drain. Moreover, history has shown us that Afghanistan doesn’t want to “change”. Other countries have tried and failed to bring Afghanistan into the 20th century (and yes, I do mean 20th, not 21st).
So Trump wasn’t wrong to want to end the war… But he made a deal with the Taliban. He basically sold out Afghanistan to a bunch of terrorists. And then he lost the election– and yes, he DID lose– but there was still that deal with the Taliban. We had to get out of there, and it was not a secret that we would be leaving.
Biden clearly didn’t handle this situation perfectly, but I think this would have been a shitstorm regardless. And I would much rather have someone like him leading the country– someone who does care about others and has pledged to try to help the Afghans who helped the U.S. military for twenty years. Biden’s priority is to get Americans out, as well as those who helped Americans. He’s doing that. Thousands of Afghan refugees have already arrived in Germany. In fact, one was even born on the transport to Germany from Afghanistan. Thanks to my husband’s work, I know that those people are being taken care of. I doubt they would have been under Trump.
Donald Trump has proven that he doesn’t think much of brown people. But aside from that, Trump doesn’t know what he’s doing, and won’t listen to anyone who does. So I think that if he had been in charge, the situation would have been much, much worse. There certainly would have been more death and destruction.
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani fled Afghanistan with lots of cash. Why did he take off? Because of what happened to his predecessor when the Taliban took over. According to The New York Times, Ghani left because he was afraid he’d be lynched. In 1996, former Afghan President Mohammad Najibullah was executed and strung up in a public square. Prior to his execution, the former president was castrated and beaten.
Ghani did not want to be tortured and executed, nor did the world need to see another leader desecrated in such a way. I can’t really blame him for getting out of Afghanistan. But when it comes down to it, Afghanistan was Ghani’s responsibility, wasn’t it? And they had 20 years. Biden’s first priority was getting Americans out of Afghanistan. That’s what he’s been doing.
My relative is a military veteran, but he left the military after four years. His service was in the 1990s, which was a relatively peaceful era. I don’t think he’s ever even been to Europe, let alone a place like Afghanistan. I’m not sure what he thinks qualifies him to criticize Biden and the way he handled this situation, which was bound to be a chaotic shitstorm regardless.
So… the bottom line is, I agree that this situation is tragic and could have been done better. But Donald Trump was certainly not the one who could have done it better. I think if Trump had been in charge, it would have been a huge catastrophe. He doesn’t care about anything or anyone but himself. That makes him a totally unsuitable leader. I’m really glad he’s not the president anymore. I hope more people will realize how dangerous he is, but more importantly, I hope the American people won’t vote in someone much worse than Trump.
Well… we’re off to the Black Forest for a few days. Gotta get our teeth cleaned and burn up some leave.
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